Alejandro Diaz and daughter Miranda, left, and wife Blanca are behind the family eatery. (Hope Peters)

Alejandro Serious Mexican, Mariscos & Fusion restaurant opened its doors on Saturday, July 2, this year in Marana.

Owner Alejandro Diaz’ new family-run restaurant prides itself on the menu of traditional Mexican fare, along with an interesting fusion of Asian flavors. The interior design of the former Jerry Bob’s restaurant was completely redone.

“It was trashed inside (when purchased),” Diaz said. “So, it was a reasonable price, and we redid it without having to borrow a large amount of money.”

Diaz credits his wife, Blanca, for her creative eye in designing the interior of the restaurant.

“It is not the typical (design) of a Mexican restaurant,” he said. “We made it modern and green.”

The rare interior design represents life, with green hues in its vines and grass. The green is accompanied by sunrise themed wallpaper accented with original artwork.

One of the many reasons the Diaz family wanted a joyful, “living life to the fullest’’ theme is the same reason Diaz opened his restaurant.

“My brother Gilbert passed away last year,” he explained. “My cousin passed away five weeks later.”

He said another cousin passed away four months later. Diaz said they lost aunts and uncles, too. Noted on the menu, Diaz wrote, “Our restaurant is dedicated to our family and friends, both living and those we have lost. A special dedication to my big brother Gilbert, who from heaven has inspired me to open Alejandro.”

For example, one of the menu items under the Mariscos section, titled “My Big Brother/Mi Hermano Gilbert’s Campechana,” is a tantalizing Mexican cocktail of shrimp, pulpo, callo and abalone in broth. 

Diaz explained his older brother Gilbert lived in Nebraska, working on and flipping houses. 

“We wanted to open a restaurant (in Nebraska),” he said. “I would go there and set up the process for him.”

After they made plans for the future, Diaz would later find out his 55-year-old brother died that night. Diaz worked for Southwest Gas as a Human Resources business partner for 13 years when he decided to open a restaurant in honor of his brother. 

“Life is short,” he said. “We decided to open this restaurant.” 

Diaz said he did not want to just “mope around” mourning the deaths of his family members, hence the color palette Diaz and his wife chose for the restaurant.

Diaz has experience in the industry, too, opening his first restaurant in Rita Ranch on the southwest side of Tucson in 1998 and a second one at Broadway and Wilmot. He ran them for 11 years.

“Due to the recession (at that time),” Diaz said, “we closed the restaurants.” 

He said worked in HR at the Hilton, which gave him hiring skills.

“I look at talent versus experience,” he said of his hiring process. “We let our staff tip out daily. We treat our employees well.”

And some family members work for him. His daughter Miranda Diaz heads social media for the restaurant; son Robbie Doson is their technical manager; and their other son, Alex Diaz, is their promoter, who markets the restaurant. 

As for promoting the incomparable menu and its fusion food, Diaz explained he wanted something different on the menu.

“It’s mostly an Asian twist,” he said. “Like our crab puffs and fresh spring rolls. Vietnam and Thai food use similar ingredients, like jalapeños.”

The appetizer section consists of other worldly cuisine, such as Abuela Chajito’s Mexican Cheese Board, Queso Fundido, Fresh Red Chile & Garlic Hummus and Calamari, all of which come with a Mexican ingredient twist.

The restaurant currently displays rare art pieces. On the back wall are three large Lottery Cards, original artwork by Daniel Martin Diaz. The artist is a Tucsonan whose work has been exhibited worldwide, and he’s also a cousin to Alejandro Diaz.

Diaz said the restaurant just received its liquor license, so it will open a full-service bar soon.

Alejandro Serious Mexican, Mariscos & Fusion Food
7850 N. Silverbell Road, Suite 156, Marana
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays
Noon to 8:30 p.m. Sundays

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